Burgersdijk and Loffelt: The Making of a Dutch Shakespeare
Smyth, Nancy Jane
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This thesis examines the translational activity of L.A.J. Burgersdijk, known for his landmark metric translation of the Complete Works of Shakespeare into Dutch in the last quarter of the 19th century. To examine the role that the cultural field played in the translation process itself, equal attention is devoted to the drama critic A.C. Loffelt, who acted as an intermediary between the translator and the literary and theatrical institutions in the Netherlands. A body of primary material is made accessible for analysis of their interaction from the time Burgersdijk started translating Shakespeare (early 1877) through the performance of his play texts (the first in October 1879) and the publication of the Complete Works in a scholarly edition (1884 – 1888). To explain his success in a competitive field, this study situates the translations within the fluid cultural field in which they were produced and functioned. The annotated transcriptions of the correspondence between Burgersdijk and Loffelt form a rich source of research material for further analysis of cultural brokerage, both in Descriptive Translation Studies and in studies of Shakespeare in the Netherlands. The letters are preserved in three archives (SAB, LM, and TIN), and the annotated transcriptions are available under separate cover.